My artistic journey began at a young age when my mother encouraged me to trace, draw and color without any criticism as to my skills. She was always my most fervent patron and strongest critic. I often ask,
What would mom think?
I'm sure there were drawings
saved from these early years,
and thankfully, they were not
passed down to me.
I actually had Art class in
elementary school two days a
week, alternated with 3 days
of science. The teacher would
demonstrate how a prism
broke up light on Monday, and Tuesday
we would learn color theory with pigments and a palette, all this in Fourth grade!
Middle School (we called it Junior High) was pretty basic when it came to Art classes. Most of the guys did drawings of cars and the girls did still life subjects.
Entering Roosevelt High in Seattle was an epithany for me. Art became more than sketching cars and drawing cartoons. Lois Fulton, the art teacher was dedicated to bringing out the talent and innovation in her students. We were taught to use materials and techniques that professional artists employed. Ink, charcoal, pastels, watercolor and oil with the correct papers and canvas. We were introduced to 3-dinensional art with clay, silkscreen printing and print making.
Most important, Lois Fulton introduced her students' work to the community. Our art was exhibited in The Seattle Art Museum, at the Fredrich & Nelson department store, was reviewed by Vincent Price, actor and art collector, for Sears
Roebuck & Co., and she
urged us to participate in
the National Scholastic Art
Winning the State competition
in 1954 and 1955, I went on
to the National Schlastic Art
competition and won a Gold Key each year, and a Full Scholarship to Famous Artists School in Westport, Connecticut in 1955.
During the Junior High and High School years
my Uncle Dick Morgan had a profound
impact on my creative work when he
fostered my interest in photography.
He provided the darkroom film and
print processing education that took
the photographic experience well
beyond my Kodak Brownie Hawkeye
camera to producing contact prints
and eventually enlargements.
(See the Photo Gallery in the site.)
Upon High School graduation I started work at Boeing (a post graduate requirement if you lived in Seattle in the '50s) as a draftsman. Boeing trained me in Isometric Illustration and Technical Drawing and I served as Co-lead in a Graphics Presentation Group on B47s and B52s before moving to Pacific Waxed Paper as a production artist. All of these jobs provided skill sets for my artwork and photography. I joined the Naval Air Reserve in 1955 and was a Photoman 3rd Class in the active reserve until 1963.
In 1958, I moved to San Jose, California as head of the one-man production art department in Pollack Paper Co., a subsidiary of St. Regis. I met my wife Diane and was married in September. My friend of 55 years Carlo Iorizzo met that same year. Also, many artists were active in the area and we put together the Artist's Cooperative. We use San Jose State College as a base with figure drawing classes and sessions honing our skills. Frank Ciecorka (1939-2008) was one of the best artists I know and you can see his work on the web today. We were active in the peace movement, civil rights, the labor movement and politics in the early '60s.
1959 introduced me to my daughter Laura — and a lifelong love affair with a beautiful person (obviously, not a chip off the old block). In 1961 Holt Murray (1932-2008) became a mentor, an incredible sculptor and innovative teacher, Holt established a group of five sculptors in an old Siren foundry in San Jose, CA. I was lucky enough to be included in the group's discussions (and home brew tastings) which changed much of my thinking regarding my art. THE SAN JOSE PERIOD paintings and drawings were the result of the influence of many people, both artists and friends.
More to come...